President Bush has pledged 350-million dollars to help victims of Asia's tsunami as the death toll across a dozen nations approaches 150-thousand. Mr. Bush said in a statement on Friday that American assessment teams in the devastated region believe needs will steadily increase in the days and weeks ahead.
The international community has so far pledged more than one-billion dollars. In New York, Secretary of State Colin Powell and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan met on Friday to discuss relief efforts before Mr. Powell's trip to the disaster zone on Sunday. Both also stressed the need to coordinate relief efforts to ensure needed supplies reach survivors as quickly as possible The UN relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, says the death toll is approaching 150,000. But he stressed the world may never know how many people were actually killed. Meanwhile, aid workers are rushing to prevent the spread of disease among millions of tsunami survivors. They say illnesses like cholera and typhoid could double the overall death toll. Ships from the United States and other countries are heading to the region, and airlifts continue to bring supplies and experts. But delivery remains difficult. In Sri Lanka on Friday, torrential rains added yet another obstacle to relief efforts.